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Definition of radiation burn

Radiation burn

An informal, non-scientific term for a dark spot (commonly on quartz) caused by ionising radiation from a minute particle of a radioactive mineral. Over time the radiation disrupts the host mineral's crystal structure in the vicinity of the radioactive particle, affecting the way light passes through it and making it appear dark. In quartz, the process effectively creates a local zone (ideally a sphere) of smoky quartz in otherwise colorless quartz. Because the discoloration remains even after the radioactive mineral is removed by weathering or cleaning, a specimen with radiation burns is not necessarily radioactive, although its level of activity should be checked with a Geiger counter.

See also: pleochroic halo; radiation induced color halo (RICH); radiohalo

Ref: see Smoky Quartz on Quartzpage.de

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